March 27, 2006

Communal Practices - Social Reproduction

A paper presented at the "West of Eden" Communes and Utopia in Northern California" conference,
hosted by the Department of Geography and the Institute of International Studies at U.C. Berkeley, March 25, 2006
Ramon (Ray) Sender Barayon

         When I first read the suggested theme for this panel, I wondered if ‘social reproduction’ referred to hippie orgies. Then I thought I’d better try to quote some sociology but, frankly, I couldn’t get the four-dimensional chaotically spinning world of Open Land to fit into the square hole, to ruin a perfectly good metaphor. So I’ll restrict myself to some history and a few general comments.  

         If we had not needed to answer that question repeatedly for the County, it might have been possible NOT to ‘reproduce’ the Straight World’s hierarchy, although Morningstar’s hierarchy was very fluid compared to straight society’s. Subgroups did form, such as ‘the wino camp’ down by the front gate that we all were so grateful for inasmuch as they had been screaming and carrying on beside Lou’s cabin. The yogis stayed around the barn, the good-time more transient types in the Upper House, and the heavy kitchen staff and organizers in the Lower. But the outside forces required an imposed structure instead of just waiting for one to grow itself naturally, as it did at Wheeler’s Ranch down the road. At Wheeler’s, a ‘Group Head’ finally emerged that evolved beyond just having Bill Wheeler play cop whenever necessary. Brother Bill, by the way, poured himself heart and soul and inheritance into the community, and grew more in spirit and nobility than anyone throughout those years. I thank him for all he did from the bottom of my heart – and the same for Lou.  

         Admittedly Lou finally tired of the “Who’s in Charge” role after having been fined 30 or more times and finally jailed for not obeying the injunction forbidding anyone but himself to live at Morningstar. He tried to place his imported guru from India at the ranch ‘to chant the Bhagavad-Gita in impeccable Sanskrit and elevate the vibes.” However Chiranjiva, Shiva Incarnate, or ‘Father’ as he was addressed by his devotees, preferred the pleasures of city living. “I did not come all the way from India to shit in the woods!” he told us. “I could do that in my village!” He described our hippie rural life as ‘divine infantilism’ and set up an urban headquarters in San Francisco. Of course the lack of working toilets at Morningstar were a major disgrace in the eyes of the Court. Actually Morningstar WAS a disgrace. Totally, I suppose it should be considered more a piece of performance art than anything else, unless you believe in a Hippie shrine.

         Lou’s search for someone ‘higher than he was’ to surrender to, as he put it, evokes something that Sociology calls ‘dominance ranking.’ I have noticed that humans, along with other animals, tend to rank each other within social groups by using various sensory stimuli that include odor, pheromones, aura, height, carriage, sunny personality, and perhaps that vague term ‘charisma.’ In Lou’s case, he ranked high as a consummate combination of professorial jokester and knife-sharp intellect that had survived a PhD on this very campus under the eye of that ferocious Teutonic musicologist, Manfred Bukofzer. Although Lou told jokes about his other teachers such as Arnold Schoenberg and Ernst Bloch, he never ridiculed Bukofzer.  

         Actually charisma is not really all that vague. Anyone who has ever been in Bill Clinton’s presence would agree he’s in the high charisma percentile,’ while our current White House resident barely moves the needle. I would suggest that there’s an innate human tendency, when entering an area, for one’s eyes to sweep the gathering and immediately create a rough hierarchy of ‘who’s doing what to whom,’ a dominance ranking that continues to adjust as you sort people out. First impressions are a rough take from the amygdala, a tiny organ in the center of the brain that triggers the ‘fight or flight’ reflex, your impressions then are refined further by feedback mechanisms from various slower sensory inputs. “Oh! That’s a stick – not a snake! I don’t have to scream and run!”

         I think human relationships tend to fall into archetypical structures depending on the size of the group, the same way crystals do: four-sided, six or eight, or the classical twelve surrounding the Alpha, as described in the New Testament. Just how many male roles are there? The ‘boss,’ the ‘consigliere,’ the ‘padre,’ the ‘bodyguard,’ the bouncer, the ‘judas’ the hit man. The Romeo, the sleazebag, the schlmiel and the schlmozzle, the wino, the hanger-on, the warrior, the thief, and the victim. For our sisters many of these have their female counterparts, and we have of course the wife, the vamp, the fallen woman along the lines of Mary Magdalene, the brusque no-nonsense organizer, and the ‘other woman.’ I’m sure we could think up many more, but at least these suffice to demonstrate the complexity of human interrelations, and at Morningstar they all thrived. Lou added more categories to the general list: the Basket Cases, the Impossibles, the Bush Rabbits (who scattered into the bushes when the cops arrived).  

         During the first months living together at Morningstar, Lou wanted me to play a saint, like Ramakrishna while he would play the patron – El Patron. In early 1967, I left Morningtstar with my partner Gina for several months, and Lou came out of the closet into the guru role – and played it very well. I visited frequently and slid easily into a ‘consigliore’ role for Lou’s ‘boss,’ or perhaps the straight man for our funny dialogues.  

         Pam Read, one of the first mothers at Morningstar, used to say, “I dream about my life here. All the same people appear in my dreams. It’s as if my waking life and dream life are merging!” Integrating one’s life certainly must include the merging of our dream and awake states. Some tribes focused particularly on doing this, like the Iroquois who required that tribal members act out and upon their dreams. As Tracy Marks writes:
“According to the Iroquois, to ignore dreams was to court illness, madness and disaster by opposing the messages of the god within. Dreams could help to cure disease, as well as disorders of the mind which were believed to result from unconscious desires revealed in dream - often resentments and unmet needs and desires. Through dreaming and sharing dreams, the Iroquois believed - and believe to this day - that they contacted the sacred power, ORENDA.”

         We all are tribals in our DNA. When we express our innate nature, tribe creates the village model embedded in our DNA. Cities are “stacked” villages, some functional, some not. It takes a village to fulfill our humanity, even if that ‘village’ is a semi-abstract corporate body or a disfunctional community around a common interest, such as UC Berkeley.  

         I believe that each person is here on earth to accomplish their own innate purpose, and I think that a low-demand communal lifestyle helps them discover what it is. Morning-star’s open-door and anarchistic lifestyle allowed each person to see themselves and their aspirations reflected back in the clear mirror it provided. When it came time to name the written history of Wheeler’s and Morningstar ranches (titled “Home Free Home” and available on the Diggers’ website), each person I asked came up with a different name for what they thought the Morningstar experience was: a Blow-out Center as invented by R.D. Lang where people could live out their delusions; a uni-nursery where we could regress ourselves to infancy and re-grow new personas from scratch; an ashram devoted to the teachings of various saints and gurus; a Digger farm for growing food to feed young people in the city. Other name suggestions included “Last resort,” “Space Colony,” “Time-Out Camp” (my own favorite), “Sanctuary,” “City of Refuge” (Lou from the Old Testament); “God’s Land,” “Freedom Exercise Camp,” “Deconditioning Center,” and of course just plain ‘Open Land’ or Lou’s acronym, “LATWIDN” – Land To Which Access Is Denied No One.” Originally I titled the memoir ‘BIG MOUTH MAKES BIG TRIBE MAKES’ in a circular symbol so it could also be read BIG TRIBE MAKES BIG MOUTH. Lou seemed to take it the wrong way, so I scrapped it.  

         Ultimately it seemed that Morningstar functioned as some sort of healing center, which perhaps could be ascribed to the fact, as we learned some years later in 1971, that the ranch had been dedicated and named for The Virgin Mary even before Lou bought the place. That might account for the visions of the Divine Mother that were reported by various folks during the sixties.  

         Many people discovered what their innate task was that they had been sent planetside to accomplish, and this perhaps was the most healing aspect of Open Community.  

         Lou wrote: “Time Magazine for July 7, l967, featured an article about the hippies that included three or four paragraphs about Morningstar Ranch as a "major new development in the hippie world -- the rural commune." They concluded that "the new-found trip of work and responsibility reflected in the Morningstar experiment is perhaps the most hopeful development in the hippie philosophy to date."  

         “John Hunter Todd, IV read that article while in a nut house in New York State. He told me that he packed his bags shortly thereafter and came to Morningstar Ranch. He stayed about six months, got his head together, enrolled at Stanford University in their pre-med curriculum, graduated and went to medical school at Emory University in Atlanta. I scarcely knew he was at the Ranch. The place had some kind of massively therapeutic effect on many people. In straight life, people live next door to others who are in more or less the same economic bracket. In many big cities people can live in adjacent apartments for years barely speaking to each other more than a curt greeting in an elevator. Proximity with no relating. That is a superficial means of juxtaposing human beings. By contrast, if access to a piece of land is denied to no one, sooner or later a group of people will be called by that land the members of which are capable of developing interpersonal relationships of a very high order. In other words, a tribe forms.”  

         I’ve seen a young man wander onto Wheeler’s totally alienated from people, his basic attitude being ‘just leave me alone’. After spending one foggy night shivering under a small pine tree he decided he’d better look around for something to catch the drips. Scrounging a piece of plastic, he hung it over a branch and spent a more comfortable night. A day or two later, he ran into an unused window and a tarp. With some maneuvering, he was able to create a wall under his plastic roof. A certain feeling of self-worth began to grow as he admired his creation. Also he noticed that no one was bugging him about doing anything, and he was able to get fed if he showed up at the wood-burning stove in the middle of one of the meadows. Soon he found himself returning the smiles he was receiving, and accepting a shared pipeful of grass that circulated at one of the meals. When I spotted him next about a week later, he said ‘hello’ and actually struck up a relaxed conversation. It was obvious that he was settling into the community with enthusiasm and wanted to know if he could help in any way. “Well, there’s always the community garden that needs weeding,” I said, and that’s where I spotted him next. Some months later, he joined a yoga group and moved north.  

         Another time a mother showed up looking for her lost daughter. Now this was not your typical mom, I must confess, but an artist-sculptor from North Beach and, although in her late fifties, obviously ‘hip.’ Her daughter was on the land, and I guess they managed to communicate well because the next time I saw Mom she was lying naked in the grass at one of our potluck gatherings moving all her body parts in time with the three African-American conga drummers surrounding her. She stayed a month and obviously enjoyed herself enormously.  

         Of course there were also Open Land failures. One guy seemed to come on the land just to O.D. under the cross on the hill. Another guy, Oak Grove Ronald, was a kind of minor Charles Manson type who wanted to form a cult that would include a man and a woman from each sign of the zodiac. He used LSD to magnetize people into his orbit, and in 1972 made a power play to take over the ranch. One of the very few community meetings was held and an elder spokesperson elected to offer Ron a deal: the community would trade him and his people their schoolbus in return for the buildings they had constructed and their immediate departure. If they didn’t leave, he could not guarantee their safety. Ron and his followers left shortly thereafter, to the immense relief of everyone.  

         The event served to demonstrate to everyone that they had the ability to self-govern and unite when necessary to accomplish a necessary task. I think it was a turning point in the Wheeler Ranch folks’ feeling that they could succeed, and I do believe that Wheeler’s would have evolved into a self-sustaining, viable village if the country had not destroyed the community. By then Morningstar’s dwellings had been bulldozed at least three times, with Lou charged not only for the labor but also fined a total of $15,000 for thirty or so separate contempt-of-court citations for not ordering hippies off the land.  

         The early seventies were depressing times, but when Jerry Brown became Governor of California he at least was able to get Cabin Class structures added to the building code, which allowed each county to vote whether or not to accept so-called ‘below-code’ buildings that did not include indoor plumbing, electrical wiring in the walls, a concrete pad insulating the inhabitants from the sweet touch of Mother Gaia. Nor did they necessarily include studs sixteen inches on center, which always evokes a story that I’ll tell in Lou’s own words:  

         “There was a black guy who we called Mystery, a very big guy, maybe 6’2" or 3", and he had an afro that added another three inches to that. So he was big, and he was very dark. By then the permanent injunction denied people the right to stay overnight at Morningstar. So the place was visited daily by members of the sheriff's department, who became good friends with us all. But anyway, Mystery conformed in every detail to that vicious stereotype about African American males, that concerns the size of their male generative organ -- a stereotype never contradicted, curiously enough. I mean, he was well hung, and he was a nudist, and every time the sheriffs would show up, he would tie a pink ribbon around it, and immediately grab at least two white girls and kiss them full on the mouth. So there you have Whitey’s worst nightmare. What did the deputies do? They just looked away.” Over the years Mystery was consistently busted in Golden Gate Park for flashing his plumbing, so he may have been yet another person who had to live at the ranch because he just couldn’t make it elsewhere. Quite a few of those types showed up.  

         Morning Star certainly had their share of ‘testers,’ of ‘super-rappers’ about which Lou said to me, “Just listen to the melody, not the words.” I tried to push through one rule that stated that in any group gathering, singing-chanting always took precedence over conversation. I frequently would start a spiritual song when a gathering had drifted too far into stoned stupidities – and it worked, too! The rappers would do a double-take and then start singing ‘Hare Krishna’ along with the rest of us. I also led an ongoing chanting-meditation group, and constantly lost my star pupils to the Hare Krishnas. Robbie started OM-ing hours on end in the meadow like a calf who had lost his mother, and the next think I knew he’d gone to the city, shaved his hair and put on an orange robe. I think we graduated about six people to ISKON, and a few are in leadership roles today. It's important to recall that ISKON and their Swami Bhaktivedanta were more or less the only operational Hindu religious group in the U.S. at that time, except of course for the old standards such as the Vedanta Society and The Self-Realization Fellowship. That may be an oversimplification, but at least as far as what groups the hippies knew about in the Bay Area, the Hare Krishna temple was it. And inasmuch as Swami Bhaktivedanta actually visited Morningstar and held kirtan in the orchard, there was a direct connection.  

         The ranch offered everyone the opportunity to shed traditional roles that had been imposed upon them by Straight Society, and find out who they really were. For me, the great epiphany was that I – we humans – had been invented by trees as portable fertilizer factories. If we fulfilled our roles well, we could then apply to come back as a redwood or a Douglas fir. When I mentioned this on a yoga list recently, someone sweetly suggested that I should seek psychiatric help. Psychiatry being the disease which it pretends to cure, I graciously declined. Trees-in-training don’t need no steenking shreenks!  

         On Open Land we all dropped our clothes and our masks, and were offered the opportunity to try out various new personas. I used to awaken and think, “Now who shall I be today? Mitra, the Sun as Friend, or Avalokitesvara’s nephew coming into incarnation in just the right time and place? Or Zero the Wunderweight, a New Age clown?” I believe we all choose, for reasons perhaps not immediately apparent, our lives as they are given to us and I have lived a privileged life because I learned very early on that possessions were not what make people happy. As a seven-year-old just arrived in Manhattan, I was spotted by my American mother lowering my toys out the window on a rope for the group of scruffy street kids standing below. Later when I went rollerskating and the same kids knocked me down and tried to take my rollerskates, I learned an additional lesson about human nature. As a pre-teen I hung out at fancy pre-debutante parties enough to learn that the children of the very rich were unhappily focused on status games based on inherited wealth and lineage. I quickly moved to the existential Greenwich Village scene where status games were based on artistic excellence and intellectual prowess. I also saw no joy there, but at least saw more depth in the gamesmanship. Then at twenty years old I discovered Zen, and never looked back.  

         Well, that’s not quite true. After the summer of 1957 in the Beatnick culture of North Beach and a serious solar epiphany while camping on Mount Tam, I returned East to prepare a move to the redwoods, but instead ended up at the Bruderhof pseudo-Christian liive-in community north of Manhattan.  

         To backtrack a little, I first became acquainted with intentional community when I blind-dated a great-granddaughter of John Humphrey Noyes, the leader-founder of the Oneida Community. Visiting the remnants of this social experiment in Kenwood, NY, as a seventeen-year-old, I was struck by the vigor and intelligence of my girlfriend’s grandfather who had been born as a so-called ‘stirpiculture,’ a planned baby, during the community years. From that time forth, the thought of living in community stayed with me, and when I ran into the Bruderhof, I thought I’d stick around to see what made everyone look so happy. Two years later I left just before one of the three sons of the deceased founder succeeded in a coupe d’etat that ended with one-third of the ten communities’ membership kicked out, about 500 men, women and children, and all but the American four sites closed and sold. I remain forever thankful that some part of me saw the writing on the wall and escaped the cult before the axe fell.  

         I must however thank the Bruderhof because it was there that I experienced ‘Village’ and ‘Tribe’ as a daily reality, albeit a flawed version, highly structured by the patriarchy and based upon a complete submersion of the individual under the fist of the leadership. The small self was crunched into the group mind more in the manner of one of those machines that crumple cars into a mass of scrap metal. Bruderhof brain-washing methods ground the individual into guilt and sin, and a number of members required more than one trip to the mental hospital for shock treatments. The stripping-away forced confession and ego-death required for baptism into the group afforded me yet another epiphany, albeit deeply painful, and a communion with Source for which I will remain forever grateful, but equally relieved that baptism was refused because my experience was considered ‘too emotional’. Only the Elder was allowed mystical experiences, the fruits of which he then shared amongst the faithful.  

         I frequently quote the words of their founder, Eberhard Arnold:
“The first generation is led by the Spirit or Ideal.
The second always has the good example
The third still will have the memory (of the good example)
But the fourth will be stuck with all the rules and regulations made before them.”  

         That totals up to eighty years, which makes me wonder whether institutions should linger, as artificial people, any longer than a normal lifespan. I tend to think that they shouldn’t, or else we end up with these monolithic entities that seem to devour people like insatiable Molochs. Perhaps after one hundred years, corporations should be forced to divest themselves and start over from scratch!  

         Anyway, back in San Francisco in 1959, I buried myself in the books of several traditional teachers, including the Russian Christian Existentialist Nicholay Berdyayev who wrote against a collectivized and mechanized society. He envisioned a community in which religious, social, and political relations would enhance personal freedom, and eased my return to a rational existence after the pseudo-Christian cult. I read all of Jung, start to finish, and devoted myself to a musical education and co-directing an avant-garde composers’ collective. In 1963 a composer friend turned me onto 15 double-0 capsules filled with dried peyote – I’d never even smoked pot up until then, and the rest is – well, not history, but a definite revelation that Consensus Reality was not the only set of dimensions that existed. By 1966 and my involvement in co-producing the Trips Festival (where I met Lou Gottlieb), I definitely was ready to move out of the electronic music concert scene and try something new. Lou offered me that opportunity by inviting me to delve into intentional community at his ranch, for which I’ll remain forever in his debt. By the way, we definitely were not the first open-land community, and can point to Tolstoy Farm in Washington as a forebear. No doubt Tim Miller could list several more.  

         Lou quoted TIME Magazine in 1967 as saying that at that time there were more than 30 communities in existence, but I imagine there were even more. Of course by the very late sixties the numbers had increased into the hundreds. And although the general consensus among Consensus Realists today is that the communal movement died, the truth is quite the opposite. Community continues strong, although it has morphed into a number of new forms, as I’m sure everyone here knows.  

         At Morning Star, possessions and previous relationships tended to drop away. We merged in group LSD experiences with Spirit, and hoped for heaven to descend to earth. LSD could create tribal unity in one day in a manner that otherwise would have taken evolution thousands of years to accomplish: the deep uniting of souls, the merging of the small self with the tribal self. For a composer, it was a priceless opportunity to create a musical culture on the spot, easy chants that kept everyone feeling they had shared a unique spiritual event. Also I borrowed the eight-pointed Morningstar symbol from the Sioux and we silk-screened it on numerous denim jackets and postcards.  

         Along with such an experience of unity comes the danger of considering oneself special. The specter of the Chosen Family can arise, a group egotism, and this is why the open gate was such a good idea. External enmity creates internal amity, and as the county’s threats of closure and the arrests started, the bonds between Morningstar folk intensified. Anyone with whom you share a soul-experience of this nature, you remain a part of forever. I can think of some hipster motorcycle hard-living types with whom I’m bonded for life through a shared group experience of this sort  

         At Wheeler’s, we wrestled with the problem of how to balance the flow into the land with the land’s ability to absorb people in a harmonious manner. I thought about this a lot, and finally came up with what I called ‘The PAL ratio – People to Animals to Land.’ The idea was to list various aspects of the ranch – people, dogs, cats, raccoons, cows, chickens, children, amount of water, types of trees, acreage in vegetables, anything that could be numerically represented. Everyone would fill in the amounts they thought ideal, such as People – 200; dogs – 4; cats – 30; raccoons – 50 (as if we could control them); cows – 3; and so forth. Once everyone had voted, we average the amounts and come up with a final tally. The final tally could then be posted on the community board with an explanation and comment that might read: “Well, we’re 44 people over the ideal, 12 cats ditto, 2 acres short on a veggie garden,” etc. Keep this in mind when you plan to settle in or invite your friends to join you.”  

         Although never given a real try, the PAL Ratio seemed like a gentle yet mutual way to get the point across that we were ‘over the consensus limit’ in various categories, and people could take whatever action they felt necessary – like moving elsewhere. Wheeler’s, at 320 acres, was large enough to form neighborhoods, each with its unique quality. Occasionally a neighborhood would become an extended family and decide to move further north and find their own land. In this manner, Wheeler’s served as a launching pad for mini-tribes that moved to Whitethorn, Albion Ridge, and other areas. I often felt as if we were a southern gateway to the psychedelic Kingdom of New Albion that existed all the way up the coast into Oregon.  

         At Wheeler’s we posted three rules: bury your shit, no outdoor fires during fire season, and build your inspired dwelling out of others’ views and out of sight of the sheriff’s helicopters. For myself, the path to the Mouse House ended at a woodshed and chicken pen, but it you leaned on the plywood back of the shed, it opened and the path continued down to my little hut, piled high with tick brush both for insulation and for camouflage. This worked until the county building inspectors came on the land with aerial photos. The inspector who checked my hut wiggled the thumb-wide redwood sticks that supported my canvas roof tentatively.  

         “This could fall down and injure you,” he said.  

         “What?” I exclaimed. “I could pull the whole thing around us right now and we’d just brush ourselves off and walk away!”  

         Anyway, he red-tagged me over my protests. Now the great irony is, and I’m not making this up, but two or three weeks later there was one of our little 5-point-something earth-wiggles centered in Sonoma County. A huge crack appeared in the courtroom building (where Lou had been spending many hours) and the concrete awning over the front door of the Welfare Office (who had been denying everyone food stamps) fell off. Meanwhile, our little cabins and hovels cha-cha-cha’d gently and survived without an exception. How poetic! We were thrilled!  

         The county’s threats forced us to organize into a corporation, and Bill’s attorney recommended a church structure. He asked me to set down the belief system that I thought we had evolved, and with the help of others I wrote the Morningstar Faith articles. The attorney decided on the name Ahimsa Church, and part of its tenets expressed our need NOT to live on a concrete pad and NOT to use flush toilets. Bare earth floors and a posthole digger with a roll of toilet paper on one handle were just fine, and squatting turned out to be a great hemorrhoids cure! I volunteered to serve as the first church president, followed a year later by Snakepit Eddie Edwards who earned everyone’s gratitude by terrifying the blue-rinsed ladies in the Welfare office into putting everyone on food stamps. Eddie could look fierce when he wanted, an African-American dude with the front half of his hair shaved off and the rest shoulder-length. A great jazz saxophonist, by the way. The Board of Directors was made up of whomever arrived at sunrise at the top of Hoffie’s Hill on the appointed day. Our church gatherings used peyote as a sacrament, donated by generous dope dealers in the city, but other than lots of music and a hot-rock steam bath, was short on ceremony. In retrospect, we could have used a Native American Road Man, but one did not arrive for another twenty years.  

         Music jams occurred daily, and Sunday became the potluck feast day followed by a sauna, in contrast to Morningstar where the evening meal was eaten communally. I don’t think Morningstar would ever have succeeded as an intentional community. We were too close to neighbors, and there was a healing spirit on the land that drew people there in large numbers just for that experience. Wheeler’s, on the other hand, with larger acreage and much more remote, was on the verge of ‘congealing’ into a successful, self-sustain-ing community when the bulldozers arrived. In one night Bill Wheeler and others burned fifty homes to keep the roaring machines from breaking down trees and desecrating the land. In stupefaction I watched the scattered blazes from the next ridge to the west. The final chapter of an amazing saga, and yet not really ‘final,’ because in scattering the tribe, the seeds took root in many other places and the concept of the ‘village model’ still continues, because nature designed us to live that way.  

         When people ask me what is necessary to start a rural open land commune, I reply, "First buy a cow, or preferably two. The cows call the meetings twice a day because if you want fresh milk, you got to go to milking. That way no one can say, 'Hey, who d'you think you are calling a meeting, head honcho or sumthin'?' Cows have no guru aspirations. And while you're at it, you might as well to the old Vedic thing and worship them. They're very sweet and benign goddesses."  

         All our experiments in dissolving traditional societal assumptions have been useful, even if only to discover certain innate truths about the human animal. And according to one teacher, Wayne Dyer, “A sense of separation from each other is the only lack we need to correct.” Open Land community melts that lack. Open land opens hearts.  

         Lou’s basic rap in a condensed mode:
“Now, let’s open our Bibles (The New English Bible) to Numbers, Chapter 35, Verse 6:
“(The LORD speaking to Moses.) “When you give the Levites their towns, six of them shall be CITIES OF REFUGE in which the homicide may take sanctuary.”
“It’s about time to establish at least ten CITIES OF REFUGE in California where even the murderers — or potential murderers — can be free from prosecution. Because the next expression of desperation on the part of people whose labor is no longer needed might well include homicide along with arson and burglary. “Given the right ‘set and setting,’ the desperate can start figgering out what is really worth doing. Making love, gardening, all artistic endeavor, cooking, entertaining and educating children, athletic contests, these are a few suggestions from “Goof ‘n’ Ball Park,’ the starship of the fleet.
“God had better be legal owner of the city, so that the answer to the question, “Who’s in charge here?” is an index finger pointed heavenward. Divine guidance must be harnessed to solve the problem of technological unemployment. We are headed into an epoch of compulsory leisure, as many recording engineers will learn as soon as everybody has Audio Trax booted up and running on their Mac-centered MIDI setups.”  

         To Lou's basic rap, which some day I predict will be implemented as taxpayers tire of spending more than twenty grand a year to incarcerate each member of ever-larger percentage of our male populations (in the style to which our prison warden's union would like to be accustomed), I would add a final quote from "A General Introduction to Integral Theory and Comprehensive Mapmaking" (©2005The Journal of Conscious Evolution), in which Sean M. Saiter quotes Ken Wilber’s summary of the various stages as they are originally presented in Clare Graves & Don Beck’s "Spiral Dynamics." These also are included in Ken Wilber’s "Integral Psychology: Consciousness, Spirit, Psycholgoy, Therapy," which I suggest serves as an excellent introduction to Wilber’s hard-to-unpack writings. I include this quote because it presents a map of 'wave of human unfolding consciousness,' leading to what is named Second Tier Thinking, which I believe will become an important way to understand/experience all the pieces of the First Tier puzzle.  

         These waves of human unfolding are called vMEMEs, shorthand for value meme. There are six on Tier One, leading to two Tier Two as defined at this point. Green defines the hippie model, but I think we all must strive for Second Tier, as defined below:
"6. Green: The Sensitive Self.[62] Communitarian, human bonding, ecological sensitivity, networking. The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness; feelings and caring supercede cold rationality; cherishing of the earth, Gaia, life. Against hierarchy; establishes lateral bonding and linking . . . Emphasis on dialogue, relationships . . . this worldview is often called pluralistic relativism . . . 10 percent of the population, 15 percent of the power.
"Second Tier:
"7. Yellow: Integrative. Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies [holarchies], systems, and forms. Flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality have the highest priority. Differences and pluralities can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows . . . Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status, or group. The prevailing world order is the result of the existence of different levels of reality (memes) and the inevitable patterns of movement up and down the dynamic spiral. Good governance facilitates the emergence of entities throughout the levels of increasing complexity (nested hierarchy).
"8. Turquoise: Holistic. Universal holistic system, holons/waves of integrative energies; unites feeling with knowledge [centaur]; multiple levels interwoven into one conscious system. Universal order, but in a living, conscious fashion, not based on external rules (blue) or group bonds (green). A "grand unification" is possible, in theory and in actuality. Sometimes involves the emergence of a new spirituality as a meshwork of all existence. Turquoise thinking uses the entire spiral; sees multiple levels of interaction; detects harmonics, the mystical forces, and the pervasive flow-states that permeate any organization.
“Second-tier thinking: 1 percent of the population, 5 percent of the power.[63]
“The difference between the two tiers is crucial. The overriding characteristic of first-tier thinking is the inability to perceive the world from the perspective of the other vMEMEs. First-tier thinking believes its worldview to be "better" than any of the other memes, including second-tier. People in the first tier have a chronic lack of ability to step out their values. It cannot grasp the entire spectrum of interior and cultural development. Second-tier thinking, on the other hand, doesn't have this problem. Second-tier thinking is characterized by the ability to consider the other vMEMEs in their own right and is not afraid of dynamic hierarchical systems based upon this meta-perspective. It is in the second-tier where all worldviews are beginning to be integrated and balanced into a "higher" way of perceiving.[64]It is a multileveled, multidimensional, richly holarchical view.[65] Second-tier thinking is rare. However, according to many, it is emerging on a greater scale now than it ever has especially with many "green memers" moving up the spiral at the same time:
"With only 1 percent of the population at second-tier thinking (and only 0.1 percent at turquoise), second-tier consciousness is relatively rare because it is now the "leading edge" of collective human evolution. As examples, Beck and Cowan mention items ranging from Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere[66] to the growth of transpersonal psychology, with increases in frequency definitely on the way--and even higher memes still in the offing . . ."